Managing a Remote Team

by Irtaza Hussain
Publish on: 2020/05/04

In the past, it was easy to manage a team of employees who were not working thousands of miles away from you. Nowadays, businesses are adopting remote trends by employing skilled workers from around the globe. Naturally, the manager is responsible for not only managing the team of employees but also to instruct, foster, and support that team. This responsibility is not always that easy. Thus, here we will be discussing the possible challenges of managing a remote team and how to overcome such obstacles.


What is a Remote Team?

Many people fail to understand what a remote team really is. A remote team is a group of experienced workers who belong to different time zones, harbors different skills and different values, all working together for one purpose. Each of the workers works from a specific location and operates across time and space. There is a significant distinction between employees working inside the office and those who are not bound to a particular building.


Obstacles in managing a Remote Team

There are a lot of difficulties in supervising a remote team which has been listed below:

Lack of Communication

Adequate, if not excellent, communication is one of the vital ingredients in managing a remote team. It is crucial to gain input from all workers and to be aware of the progress of the tasks they have been working on. However, when workers are working remotely, it's hard to obtain such a quality of communication. Different time zones often lead to employees receiving messages, not on time which negatively affects their performance. Moreover, lack of compliance with the established working hours by the worker also affects timely communication. Lastly, due to the difference in time zones and schedules, making video meetings and phone calls often becomes a burdensome task.


Email alone is inadequate. Telecommuters profit by having a "more extravagant" innovation, for example, video conferencing, that gives members a significant number of the viewable signals that they would have on the off chance that they were vis-à-vis. Visual prompts take into account expanded "common information" about colleagues and furthermore help lessen the feeling of disconnection among groups. Video is likewise especially helpful for mind-boggling or touchy discussions, as it feels closer to home than composed or sound just correspondence.

Moreover, as long as you can adopt a two-way communication system, your remote workers would not feel isolated. In addition, regular one on one meetings should be held since it is troublesome to choose a time that would be suitable for all workers


Inability to monitor worker’s progress

Since it is an arduous task to scrutinize how much and at what pace is your worker accomplishing his tasks, It is not that easy to track your employee’s progress especially when they are working thousands of miles away from you. You cannot possibly know when your employee is being underutilized without a comprehension of their capability and this lack of visibility and control can lead to poor management.


Various measures need to employ in order to monitor your employees’ productivity. Such actions may include creating merits that define how much work is to be completed per day. Moreover, clear roles and responsibilities should be detailed, along with the discussions with the workers about specific goals in a project to keep them accountable. Most importantly, the progress of remote workers should be monitored according to the same criteria that apply to office workers.


Cultivating Corporate Culture

Cultivating the right corporate culture is a demanding task.  It involves hiring the right employees, adopting a good mode of communication, and diffusing this culture across the board. In an office, the company culture is already shaped which is not the case with remote teams where you have to develop a professional, working culture with concentrated effort. It should be kept in mind that such culture should reflect your team’s purpose and values.


Creating such a culture requires a carefully structured plan in which the manager will deliver his rules and regulations to the workers along with the expectations that they would be required to fulfill. In addition, the plan would also discuss the modes of interactions between the manager and the worker along with other policies of the company


Cultural Difference

As this system of work is global, different employees have different values, boundaries, and attitude towards their work. Managing people of different ethnic groups and embracing cultural diversity is a complicated project since they have different work ethics, behaviors, and expectations. Managers often fail to understand or appreciate their worker’s cultural background which leads to conflicts that threaten the team’s unity. 


Managers should acquire adequate knowledge about their worker’s cultural background and associated values and should work with them accordingly. They should be open to feedback and constructive criticism as well as promote a mindset of accepting differences and respecting every cultural aspect.


Obtaining Team’s Trust

There is sometimes a mutual distrust between the employee and the company. While the Managers stress that representatives won't fill in as hard or as productivity, the employee is anxious about whether he will be timely paid. Moreover. Many employees struggle with diminished access to administrative help and correspondence. Sometimes, the workers feel that remote directors are withdrawn from their necessities, and along these lines are neither steady nor accommodating in completing their work.


Being transparent can develop trust between the employees and the manager. Transparency should be applied to:

  • Expectations regarding the task
  • Pay rate and schedule
  • Working Hours
  • Status update regarding the task

Moreover, unexpected questions regarding the project should be answered promptly and workers should be provided with any kind of help.

As we can see, there are many challenges in managing a remote team. However, such issues can be easily resolved by taking appropriate, timely measures that would make the remote industry even more common across the globe.



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